liquid lunches and sparkly afternoons

Ike sat down just as mine and Shelly’s kiss was ending. I kept close to her face, her lips, letting the moment linger a little bit longer. She smiled at me as a tress of her hair fell into her face, tickling my nose on the way down. I then slowly turned to the left to see Ike sitting across from us, with a tremendously goofy-ass grin smeared across his mug.

“Hello kiddies!”

Shelly wrapped her graceful left arm around my shoulders and offered him her right hand.

“I take it you’re Ike.”

He clutched her hand exuberantly, “Ike I am. It is a very special pleasure to meet you.”

I thought for a brief second the fucker was going to try to kiss her hand but he just held it for a few beats longer than what seemed normal. She smiled at him, pulled her hand back and placed it on my lap. I felt my pulse jump. She made polite small talk with Ike, who was brimming over with conversation, and she ran fingers in small circles on the inside of my thigh. I felt completely relaxed sitting next to her and the uneasiness that had been flowing in and out of my consciousness began to dissipate under the influence of whiskey and a beautiful woman. As I alluded to earlier, if there is one thing I do well it is self-medicate.

Ike then looked over at Lenny Kravitz and gave him a nod. “Hey Lenny.”

Lenny was looking at his phone but looked up and gave an almost smile in return. Really Lenny was far too cool to speak to me in the first place but he was polite enough to at least acknowledge Ike’s greeting. Ike took it in stride, as he did almost everything.

“Where’s our waitress?”

I looked over at the bar, trying to find Heidi but instead saw the other girl coming our way – the scary, angry girl.

I started to give Ike a head’s up warning about our server, but then I became curious as to what might happen once the two of them saw each other again. I decided to wait and observe. Sometimes you should just let shit happen.

The scary, angry waitress dropped a plate of something off at the table behind us and then made her way to our table. Ike had his back to her as she approached and stopped next to him.

“Can I get you guys anything?”

She sounded decidedly more pleasant this time with no sign of her previous vitriol, but it was, of course, only latent until her situational awareness caught up.

Ike immediately replied he would like to order a round for us all and was in the midst of turning to face the waitress when a cold pallor of recognition slid down his face, as his eyes met hers.

Her eyes immediately widened, “Holy shitballs – I was wondering how long it would be before we crossed paths!”

Again, the shift in the woman’s tone was instantaneous and chilling. Equally impressive, however, was Ike’s immediate regathering and laconically cool demeanor.

“Good to see you again so soon, gorgeous. I forgot you worked here.”

“That’s funny you remember anything before you went home and fucked my roommate.”

I felt compelled to chime in at this moment as the news that Ike didn’t sleep with this particular girl was somewhat startling.

“Wait a second, Ike – you slept with the other girl, the blond?”

Ike flashed me a quick look that spoke volumes of ‘shut the fuck up‘ and the turned back to the server.

“Look, last night got messy but no one fucked anyone. She passed out.”

“I don’t know if I believe that, especially coming from a guy who makes out with me but goes home with my roomie”

This exchange wasn’t exactly going down in the most subtle of ways. We had several other tables’ attention at this point, including Lenny’s. There was a palpable sense of anticipation. We were all waiting to see what was coming next.

“Katie, I know last night I made a douche move and no amount of boozing can really excuse it. I also know you’re in town for the season from Minnesota and I’m here from LA and we don’t really have the luxury of time for a long drawn out reconciliation. Thus, I propose we skip the unpleasantries and you allow me to buy you dinner at Chimayo after you finish your shift. I know you want to try that place and I have the entire night free.”

Here’s something I may not have told you about Ike – he remembers just about everything. He can be downing cocktails with you all night and the next day recite nearly verbatim the conversations you had the previous drunken night. I wouldn’t have remembered where she was from, much less that she wanted to check out a local spot. You could actually see the ice in her veins starting to thaw.

Shelly’s melodic voice then pierced the  cold war thaw.

“I have an idea, Katie, why don’t you finish your shift and we’ll all grab drinks and dinner? When Ike turned toward Shelly she playfully winked at him and then beamed a beatific smile back at Katie, who was obviously ruminating over the last several minutes.

“Ok – I’m done in an hour. I have a change of clothes in back. So, what the fuck do you want to drink, Ike?”

“Tom Collins.”

“I’ll be right back.”

She was actually smiling when she walked off – well, almost. I was about to congratulate Ike when Lenny spoke up from the table next to us.

“Well played, my man.”

I looked at Lenny and laughed. It was well played indeed.

incredibly loud and extremely drunk

Any time one starts drinking before noon, the time-space continuum goes into an odd state of expedited flux. The passage of hours starts normally but the intermittent seconds composing that passage of time become increasingly shortened with each new round of spirits ordered and imbibed.

The level of flirtation between me and Shelly was also increasing in direct proportion to the volume of our conversation, which was being amplified by the string of whiskey and vodka drinks making their way to our table. Our laughter was increasing in occurrence and decibel. It’s amazing how amusing booze can make the world sparkle. Shelly then left her seat to put her long, sexy body next to mine on the bench seat against the window. Our thighs were touching and we had begun the play of hands emphasizing points on hands and arms, with each emphasis lingering a little longer. We were two magnets, being pulled into one another at a snail’s pace by a force we were unable to contest.

I could see a wayward glance from other patrons who were either eavesdropping on our conversation that fluctuated between the conspiratorial whispers of two people bound to become lovers and the full-frontal flirtatious laughing of two people enjoying the afternoon. I was leaning into Shelly’s ear, telling her about the time Ike brought hookers into my house, when two things occurred. The first was a lone man was seated next to us and the second was the phone in my bag that was sitting between us and the newly seated man began to ring.

Normally, I shy away from ostentation but on a rare occasion something pimpalicious catches my eye and I add it to my personal quiver. My phone is just such a thing. I have a gold handset – a YUBZ gold handset that attaches to my mobile. It is by far the most pimp thing I own. When I reached into my bag to retrieve my phone and pulled out the handset, Shelly began snorting with laughter and immediately cupped her hand over her mouth. Her snort however, was heard round the bar.

Her snort made me laugh as well and in the midst of my laughter I didn’t even check to see who was calling me. I just answered it to find Ike on the other end.

“Yo, sport, where you at?”

“Oh – hey Ike. I’m just out writing.”

I looked over at Shelly and raised one eyebrow to which she responded by making an astonished face of her own.

“It sounds kind of loud for writing, sport. You in a bar?”

“Yeah, Ike, I’m at a bar and I’m with a beautiful young lady who I need to get back to immediately.”

“Right, where are you guys? I’ll join you”

“Not going to happen buddy – entertain yourself.”

There was a pregnant silence on the other end.

“Fine, sport, be a dick. I am just going to head to Easy Street for their bloody mary bar. See ya later.”

Before I could interject he had hung up the phone. I thought about calling him back immediately and telling him not to come here but that would have only made his resolution to come here all the firmer. At least by not letting him know we were here, he might end up changing his mind.

I was staring at the screen on my phone mindlessly when Shelly asked me if everything was okay. I smiled and told her it was fine but that we might have company at some point.

Then the guy next to me asked if he could see my phone. I looked at him for the first time and realized it was Lenny Kravitz.

I immediately said sure and I disconnected the handset from the phone and went to hand him my iPhone but he stopped me.

“No, brother, I mean the handset.”

I laughed and handed over my pimpalicious gold handset.

“Where did you get this?”

“I ordered it online from YUBZ.”

Lenny looked at up at me,”From where?”

“It’s called YUBZ – like Why you busy – but it Y, U, B, Z.”

“Oh. Very cool, man, very cool.”

He then handed me my phone back and thanked me. I smiled at him and put it away. When I looked back toward Shelly, she kissed me softly on the lips. She was a fantastic kisser with lips that felt like they melted into mine.

I had just sort of met Lenny Kravitz and then made out with a beautiful woman so I really wasn’t upset when Ike came walking up to our table.

easy writer

I put away my laptop and gathered up my power cord. Shelly walked outside and was wrapping herself in a scarf and gloves while I got all my shit together. The power cord, of course, was not being cooperative and so I ended up jamming it into a pocket and hurriedly grabbing my jacket, throwing on a one sleeve while leaving the rest of the coat dangling as I walked to the door.

What was my rush? Why was I hurrying? In a more honest moment I would say that my heart had been broken for the first time in any sort of recent memory and I perhaps was hoping for some respite from my own thoughts. I found memories of the girl everywhere I looked, like ghosts haunting me as I walked around town, and maybe Shelly was a means to exorcise some of them. In my more typical bravo-laden moments I would merely dismiss such questions as self-explanatory given the way Shelly had approached me.

They say the best liars actually convince themselves of their own prevarications. The physiological process of the brain would function identically if one were recalling an entirely contrived story as if one were tapping into an actual memory. Moreover, the more one told a particular lie, the more solid the synaptic connection would be, thus cementing a memory out of a fabrication. Despite all of this, I couldn’t convince myself of any truth other than the actual one. Shelly offered the potential of a momentary lapse of pain in what had been dark days.

And there is a dark days arc coming in which I will gladly recount for you the ways in which a man tries to pry himself from the grim clamps of melancholy, but once again, I defer to a later time.

For now, I happily joined in step with Shelly on the short walk to Easy Street. We chatted a bit about the town and where she lived and I pointed out to her where I lived and then we descended the steps to bar area below the restaurant. They had a fire blazing inside and there were a few scattered families, mostly looking like people in town on holiday for the snow and the ski.

Once the season starts to kick in crowds grow and change. The laid back local vibe is supplanted with a boisterous gathering of people in town to hit the slopes. They ski and snowboard all day and then imbibe heavily at local watering holes. Easy Street isn’t as bad in terms of the noisy post-ski crowd, but it certainly had become louder over the last few weeks.

We found a place along the window that looked out to the patio. Snow storms had shut down any outdoor dining in most places but it was still nice to look out onto the patio and watch the fat snowflakes fall.

The waitress came around, a cute girl I had chatted up in the past, to take our order. She somehow remembered my name and I remembered her’s was Heidi, although we’d spoken only twice before. She commented on not seeing me for a while and I asked if she were still crashing with friends or had found a place. It’s odd how some details wedge themselves in folds of gray matter.

Shelly ordered a glass of red wine and I almost fell in line with her before succumbing to my desire for a stiff whiskey with one ice-cube. Cold days with snow and nothing really to do lend themselves to whiskey more than wine.

Right before Heidi returned with our drinks, Shelly gave me a mischievous look with a Cheshire cat grin blossoming across her lovely face. It evolved into smirk of sorts before she said anything.

“So why is Jackson Panic here in Park City?”

I paused and studied her visage before attempting to answer but right as my lips parted to speak, she expounded upon her initial inquiry.

“Allow me to rephrase – most people come to a town like this to get to the slopes but you don’t appear to me a man too concerned with snow sports. So, if you didn’t arrive here because you wanted to come to a ski town, what was it you were trying to get away from?”

It was a pointed question from someone who barely knew me. I had been kicking around a lot of different things when I decided to move from LA to Park City but hadn’t really considered whether any one of them were something I was running from. Was I trying to get away from something? Or someone?